On the Catholic Priesthood
Honor the Priesthood
I would rather have a hand in getting one priest back to the altar of God
than to write a thousand books on the priesthood,
or to preach a million sermons on the glory of the priesthood,
for neither the sermons nor the books
can hold Christ in their hands and offer Him to the Father.”
– Very Rev. Gerald Fitzgerald, s.P.
Refusing to Share in the Priesthood of Christ
What would happen to a priest already sharing in the priesthood of Christ by reason of his ordination, if he refused to share in Christ’s condition of victim? He would certainly be falling away from the priestly ideal: his life would become disordered, disturbed, and confused. He would remain a minister of Christ but without a sincere love for his affectionate Master. No longer a man of God but a man of the world, a man whose life has become vain, superficial, barren. This deplorable state of sterility reveals in an even better light the fruitfulness of a genuine apostolate, just as it is easier to appreciate the value of justice when we see the suffering resulting from injustice. Every priest should ask for the grace to be a victim in the way God wants him to be, to suffer patiently whatever God has willed for him from all eternity, so that he takes up his cross each day not simply as a faithful follower of Christ but as a priest standing in the place of Christ himself. He must undergo a mystical death before his physical death.
Source: The Priest in Union with Christ, Father Reginal Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.
He is another Christ - Respect him;
He is God's Representative - Trust him;
He is your benefactor - be thankful to him.
At the Altar
He offers your prayer to God - do not forget him;
He prays for you and yours in purgatory - ask God's mercy for him.
In the confessional
He is the physician of your soul - show him its wounds;
He directs you towards God - follow his admonitions;
He is judging - abide by his decision.
In his daily life
He is human - do not hastily condemn him;
He is human - a word of kindness will cheer him;
If you must tell his faults - tell them to God, that He may give him light and strength to correct them;
He has a great responsibility -ask God to guide him in life, and to be merciful to him in death.
Daily Thoughts for Priests
We live in a country and in a period of restless activity, of advertising and being advertised, of nervous anxiety for results almost at any cost. How sad to see priests caught up and carried away by the flood, losing the merit of their lives, not to say their very souls, while saving others!
Like those of whom Our Lord speaks, they prophesy by the earnestness of their preaching; they cast ou devils by the power of the sacraments; they work wonders of material construction and organization; but they are sustained in it all and borne along chiefly by natural impulse, by exuberant activity, by the spirit of pride, by the desire to be talked of by their people and by their fellow priests, by all manner of human motives worthless in the sight of God.
Only at the judgment of God - "on that day"- will they know, will the world know, in what depths of spiritual poverty they have lived and died.
source: Daily Thoughts for Priests, Fr. John B. Hogan
The Catholic Bishop as Principal Teacher
The Bishop is the principal teacher in the faith community. As such, he must be devoted to preaching the Gospel constantly. That preaching aims at illuminating to the faithful what they must believe and put into practice, while steering them away from every error that is life-threatening to the spirit.
Pray for Better Priests
Our brethren of the laity often complain of the priest they get; I wonder, does it ever occur to them to pray for better? When the Ember seasons come round, how many people remember to pray for the priests who are being ordained? We pile the sanctuary with flowers, we make it a blaze of candles; but there is something else needed far more than lights of flowers for God's honor, that the hearts of his priest should be made a fit habitation for Himself. Of his priests? Not of His priests only, but our own hearts too.
Source: Pastoral Sermons and Occasional Sermons, The Eucharist, Fr. Ronald Knox
When the shepherd becomes a Wolf
the first duty of the flock is to defend itself. The true children of Holy Church, at such times, are those who walk by the light of their Baptism, not the cowardly souls who, under the specious pretext fo submission to the powers that be, delay their opposition to the enemy in the hope of receiving instructions which are neither necessary nor desirable.
Source: Dom Prosper Guéranger, The Liturgical Year
Pray, pray for your priests!
"Pray, pray for your priests; every nation, every diocese gets the clergy it deserves.
We priests are only earthen vessels, you know for yourselves many of the shortcomings,
hasty temper and slovenly habits and so on, by which we often disgrace the livery we wear.
But, when you observe such things, you merely shrug your shoulders, and say,
"Pity Father So-and-so isn't more like poor Canon So-and-so". You should be on your knees,
this next week, praying for the clergy everywhere, from the Holy Father himself down to the
new priests [...]; praying for the seminaries too, the factories where the tools of Christ are made.
God protect His Church in the anxious, bewildered days that are coming; and give us supply of
good priests to work as the martyrs worked, to live as the martyrs lived, and if need be to die as
the martyrs died, to the glory of His Holy Name."
Source: Monsignor Ronald Knox, Priesthood, Pastoral Sermons and Occasional Sermons
Recipe for Holiness
"Priests, do not forget that priestly gravity and propriety must characterize your ministry, whereas everything which tends towards secular habits, shows up the priest as vain and flighty in the eyes of the world which is perfectly able to discern the more respectable priests even from their outward bearing."
"Only two means are left to save Her (the Church) amidst so much confusion: Frequent Communion and Devotion to Mary most holy, making use of every means and doing our best to practice them and having them practiced everywhere and by everybody."
"When speaking of public scandals:
Don’t be surprised at anything. People and waywardness go hand in hand. The Church has nothing to fear because even if all were to conspire to overthrow Her, the Holy Spirit would still uphold Her."
Haerent Animo, Apostolic Exhortation
"It is his duty to uproot unfruitful plants and to sow useful ones, to
water the crop and to guard lest the enemy sow cockle among it.
Consequently, the priest must be careful not to allow an unbalanced
concern for personal perfection to lead him to overlook any part of the
duties of his office which are conducive to the welfare of others. These
duties include the preaching of the word of God, the hearing of
confessions, assisting the sick, especially the dying, the instruction
of those who are ignorant of the faith, the consolation of the
sorrowing, leading back the erring, in a word, the imitation in every
respect of Christ who went about doing good and healing all that were
oppressed by the devil."
Source: Pope St. Pius X
A priest is one who makes Christ visible
"A priest is one who makes Christ visible. The people see Christ in the
saintly priests and they seek even to touch his robes as they did the
robes of Christ. Children come to him without fear; non-Catholics give
to them a reverence which they rarely give to others. The sure measure
by which a priest draws souls to Christ is also the means by which he
can drive souls from Christ."
Sources: Bishop Sheen, Those Mysterious Priests
A Well Trained Priest
"One well trained priest is worth more than many trained badly or
scarcely at all. For such would be not merely unreliable but a likely
source of sorrow to the Church. What a terrifying account, Venerable
Brethren, We shall have to give to the Prince of Shepherds, to the
Supreme Bishop of souls, if we have handed over these souls to
incompetent guides and incapable leaders."
Source: Pius XI (Ad Catholici Sacerdotti: Encyclical of Pope Pius XI on the Catholic Priesthood. 1935)
The Priest as one Chosen from among Men
"We recognize the priest as one chosen from among men to serve men in
the affairs of God. He is the minister of reconciliation with God, the
teacher of the truth, and one who offers the sacrifice, who administers
the sacraments, who prays for the people. We distinguish in him that
double character of man and priest; we recognize the divine character of
the priesthood which forces us to bend the knee to him for the
forgiveness of sins and to receive from his hands the holy sacrifice of
the Eucharist. His ordination has conferred upon the man the character
of the priesthood of Jesus Christ. In the parish he is the ambassador
of God, the administrator of the sacraments, the guardian of the sacred
deposit of faith, the defender of the people's rights, and the unselfish
friend of everyone. From the cradle to the grave, he touches intimately
the lives of his people and brings to them in all the circumstances of
life the blessing of the Divine Savior of whom he is the commissioned
minister. The people feel that in the true priest there is no taint of
selfishness, and that he is willing to sacrifice his life in order that
the spiritual interests of his people may not suffer "
Source: Bishop James Conaty, Our Young People, 1912